A Tale of Two Authors: Part One
“A multitude of people and yet a solitude.” - Charles Darnay from "A Tale of Two Cities"
It all started with a prompt.
I (Marit) had hit a dry spot with my writing. Any writer who has ever come across this wasteland knows the morose feelings it induces. I was smack in the middle of such glumness before I met Kirsten. Although since joining the Young Writer’s Workshop I had more resources at my fingertips than I’d ever had in my life, still my characters seemed like cardboard, my plots were non-existent, and I was fresh out of inspiration. I felt just like Charles Darnay: swamped in a multitude of people and information, yet completely and utterly alone.
Then one day, I thought up two lines that would change my writing life forever.
“You know, sometimes I really like you.”
“I harbor a positive feeling toward you as well.”
I was most pleased with myself, and laughed since it sounded very much like a conversation that would occur between my brother and I. Without further ado, I posted it as a prompt on our Young Writer’s Workshop Community page. When I checked later, someone had replied. Someone I had never seen before on the Young Writer's Workshop. Someone named Kirsten Daniel.
"And things like that really kill the feeling...."
"So, you like me one minute and do not like me the next minute? Females are infinitely confusing."
With her replying lines, the dialogue between those two unknown characters had continued. A satisfied grin appeared on my face and a feeling of excitement invaded as I wrote two more lines back. She replied again. Although neither of us had intended it, soon we were flying back and forth in a dialogue that grew longer and longer, until we realized we were writing a short story. Before long, we started a personal message to discuss details and discovered that we held many of the same thoughts and ideals. After our first prompt story came to a close, we decided to do another. We found that several people were watching our writing as we went back and forth, following the story wherever it took us.
Our third prompt was the one that flipped my writing world entirely upside down.
At this point, I had “known” Kirsten for about a week. We had been searching for suitable prompts for our next mini piece, and I came up with one of my own.
“Do you trust me?”
She backed away, shaking her head slightly. "I don't even know you."
"I know you don't, but do you trust me?"
She hesitated. His eyes bored straight into hers, steady, calm....trustworthy? Before she could change her mind, she put her hand into his.
I clapped my hands with the sheer mystery those few words evoked. I had no idea the journey they were about to take me on. We began the prompt the day before my birthday, and three days later, we realized that the story of this prompt was much grander and deeper than a mere few thousand words could tell. Plus, everyone who was following our prompt-stories was urging us to make this one into a novel.
So we did.
Twenty weeks (to the day!), at least a hundred Skype calls, thousands of texts, and hours of work later, we finished our first draft of our novel, Mended. It was nearly four hundred pages--over 138,000 words. A mega-novel. I had never had so much fun writing in my entire life. My skills had rocketed along with my confidence. Plus, I had gained an amazing friend. By the time we were finished, we had talked about pretty much every subject under the sun. Kirsten was able to complete my sentences while we were writing together, and I could do the same for her. We worked like clock-work together, and had become famous in the Young Writer’s Workshop, not because of our writing, but because of our teamwork. I found that co-writing lets you get to know a person in a whole new way. I learned how she processes, and she learns how I think (which turned out to be highly entertaining at some points).
And to think, if I’d never posted that prompt, I might never have met her. Mended wouldn’t be sitting in its editing stage. Our writing styles would be entirely different, instead of having been strengthened by each other's skills. And this blog would most certainly not exist. God orchestrated all those events perfectly. He knew exactly what I needed, which was Kirsten, at the exact time I needed her, which was June 2017. This whole journey has been one of learning and adventure. It reminded me again to never despise small beginnings, and to never underestimate what God can do with a few words.
Because who knows?
The next great adventure of your life just might start with a simple prompt.